Aside from delivering delays-laden train service, Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan told Parliament that the investigation of the collapsed viaduct at PIE is also delayed. Giving no deadlines, the investigation report was supposedly completed by October, three months after the fatal incident which killed 1 foreign worker and seriously injured 10 others. Addressing Opposition NCMP Dennis Tan’s question, Transport Minister Khaw Boon Wan wrote in a reply on Monday (Jan 8):
“Investigations are still ongoing. After investigations are completed, the matter will be referred to the Attorney-General’s Chambers for their assessment. More information will be provided at the appropriate juncture.”
The real reason behind the delay is believed to be the involvement of the offending contractor, OKP Holdings. The directors of the company have powerful network links with the ruling party PAP, and served as PAP grassroots leaders. Interim investigations found a serious management breach from conflict of interests, revealing that both the designer of the viaduct and it’s project supervisor are the same company, OKP Holdings. The awarding government department Land Transport Authority feigned ignorance and did not make a response on the management structure.
To worsen matters, it was also found by members of the public that OKP Holdings was previously banned for safety breaches in other projects prior to the fatal incident.
Corruption and cronyism is a common underhanded practice in Singapore. Just last month, the country’s state-owned company Keppel was fined US$422 million for bribery in Brazil. The Singapore government however issued only a conditional warning to Keppel despite having the high-profile corruption sullied the corruption-free reputation built over the years by the former Singapore administration.